The queen sat back in her chair and pushed her spectacles onto the top of her head so that they seemed to be a rather unusual addition to the small tiara she wore for everyday.
“There!” she said to the king indicating the papers that lay strewn across the entirety of the banqueting table in front of her. “I’m pretty sure I’ve thought of everything. This is going to be the finest christening in history.”
“I’m sure it will, my dear,” the king said. He was quite happy to let his wife revel in seating plans and menus and timetables as long as she didn’t require him to get involved. He done his best to take an interest when they got married, because he thought he should, and she’d tried to involve him, because she thought she should. Then one day, after a particularly large yawn had escaped him over a discussion of what sort of amuse-bouche to serve at the start of the wedding banquet, she turned to him and said, “Why don’t you go for a ride? I can manage here.” He’d apologised for yawning, insisted that he wasn’t bored, but she shook her head and said it was fine, it wasn’t his thing but it was hers and he should just go. That was the moment he felt sure that their marriage would be a success. He bowed and kissed her hand, called to his gentlemen and left the rest of the planning to her.
The king pulled out a chair next to the queen’s. She had just settled her glasses back on her nose and begun to look at the seating plan again, but now she looked up at him, surprised.
“There’s just one thing…” he started.
The queen laughed and began to pull a sheaf of papers towards her. “You want to know what’s in the banquet, don’t you?”
He stayed her hand. “No. It’s not that.”
She took of her glasses and laid them on the table.
“It’s the godmother, that’s what’s worrying me,” he said. “You hear such stories, don’t you, about terrible things happening to princesses? Curses and so on. We need to make sure we pick the right fairy.”
The glasses were on again. The queen leafed through the pile of paper to her right. “There’s absolutely no need to worry about that. I’ve got it covered. Where is that…? Here!” She pulled out a lilac file and took several sheets out of it. “I thought the best thing would be to ask all the fairies in the land to stand as godmothers. We’ll shower them with lovely gifts, give them the best position at the banquet…”
The king had taken the papers from her and was turning over each sheet carefully, brow furrowed.
“Obviously it’s a lot more expensive than just having one or two godmothers…” the queen added.
“But, I thought, for our daughter—”
The king looked up. “It’s not that. You’ve only got seven fairies here. What about that old one from the mountains?”
“Maleficent? No one’s heard anything of her for years. I think she must be dead.”
“Should you perhaps check?”
The queen stifled a little sigh of impatience. Really, if he was going to leave this all to her, he should just keep out of it completely. She scribbled a note on the bottom of the list of fairies.
“You’re right,” she said. “I’ll send someone out there today.”
He stood and dropped a kiss onto her cheek. “Thank you, my dear.”
Once he had left, she gathered up all the godmother papers and put them back in the lilac file. She had too many other things to do to go chasing around after a fairy who was probably dead.